Meaning of Blue Monday by New Order & The Story

The best-selling 12-inch single of all time, not officially certified gold, one of the longest tracks to hit the UK charts, New Order’s biggest hit – it’s all about the famous Blue Monday (“Sad Monday”).

What is Blue Monday – New Order about?

Let’s start the article about the song with the title. In English, the word blue means not only “blue”, but also “dull”, “sad”, “depressed”. The expression blue Monday is most often used to refer to a difficult Monday, when you have to return to working life from a hangover. It is also sometimes called the first working day of the last full week of January. Some psychologists consider it the saddest day of the year.

In the user comments on music sites, you can find dozens of interpretations of the meaning of the Blue Monday song. The Falklands War, the transition from rock to dance music, the death of Ian Curtis, drug addiction, unrequited love, child abuse – these are just some of the interpretations of the main idea of ​​the song offered by music lovers from different countries.

Which version is closest to the truth? It is possible that all of them are a figment of the imagination of New Order fans. The band members themselves willingly talked about the song, but no one could really explain the main idea of ​​the work or did not want to.

Blue Monday song story

Here’s what Peter Hook had to say about the story behind the Blue Monday song:

The instigators were Bernard and Stephen. It was they who were enthusiastic about new technologies. The rhythmic pattern of the drums was torn off from some song by Donna Summer on the back of the single (Our Love – hereinafter the sign of the translator). We ended up with the rhythm pattern and were really happy, but then Steve accidentally messed up the drum machine so we had to start from scratch and it didn’t work out as well…

It was a set of sound fragments that got bigger and bigger. When we got to the end, I took the bass guitar and recorded it. I stole the riff from Ennio Morricone (La resa dei conti song). Then Bernard joined in and sang the vocals.

The words are not about Ian Curtis. We wanted them to be obscure. I was just reading about Fats Domingo. He had a song called Blue Monday and it was a Monday and we were all so pathetic that I thought, “Oh, that’s very appropriate.”

The Guardian, 2006

To the same publication, but a little later, Gillian Gilbert told how it happened that the melody of the song did not match the rhythm a little:

This happened by accident. My job was to program the entire song from beginning to end, which I had to do by hand, entering each note. I had the entire sequence written down on reams of A4 paper and taped across the studio like a huge knitting pattern. But I accidentally missed one note, which distorted the melody.

The Guardian, 2013

Recording and release

It is generally accepted that Blue Monday is a reworking of 586, which Steve Morris recorded back in the early eighties.

Dave Haslam in Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City claims that Bernard Sumner personally told him that the song was inspired by four tracks:

  • the aforementioned Donna Summer single,
  • Dirty Talk – Klein & MBO,
  • Radioactivity – Kraftwerk,
  • (You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real” by Sylvester.

The song was released as a single in 1983 and peaked at number nine in the UK. It could have been higher, but during the presentation of the track at the BBC, the musicians played very unsuccessfully live and could not make the proper impression on the audience. Yet Peter Hook recalled the event fondly:

We thought everything was fun. It was complete anarchy. And yet, performing on Top of the Pops was one of the most significant events in my life. The only time people like my mother and relatives, who have little in common with us, thought that we had succeeded.

Mojo 1983

New Order later released remixes on Blue Monday several more times. The most successful version was the 1988 edition, with which the group conquered the American dance charts.

Blue Monday

The music video for Blue Monday was filmed by New Order for a shortened version of the song.

Interesting Facts

  • There is no song or band name on the cover of the single. Instead of these inscriptions, a color code is shown in which the inscription “FAC 73 BLUE MONDAY AND THE BEACH NEW ORDER” is encrypted. The key to it is printed on the back of the Power, Corruption and Lies album sleeve.
  • As was often the case with New Order, the title of the song is not mentioned in the lyrics.
  • The single was not officially certified gold because Factory Records, which released it, was not a member of the British Phonographic Industry.
  • There is an opinion that New Order did not make money on the song, because the retail price of the single did not even cover the cost of printing the album cover. But many experts argue that this is a misconception. Allegedly, over time, the cost of production has decreased significantly, but circulation has increased significantly.

Blue Monday Lyrics

How does it feel to treat me like you do?
When you’ve your hands upon me
And told me who you are
I thought I was mistaken
I thought I heard your words
Tell me how do I feel
Tell me now, how do I feel

Those who came before me
Lived through their vocations
From the past until completion
They’ll turn away no more
And I still find it so hard
To say what I need to say
But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me
Just how I should feel today

I see a ship in the harbor
I can and shall obey
But if it wasn’t for your misfortune
I’d be a heavenly person today
And I thought I was mistaken
And I thought I heard you speak
Tell me how do I feel
Tell me now, how should I feel

Now I’m standing here waiting…
I thought I told you to leave me
While I walked down to the beach
Tell me how does it feel
When your heart grows cold

Blue Monday Lyrics Alternative

How does it feel to treat me the way you do?
When your hands are on me
And tell me who you are
I thought I was wrong
I thought I heard you say
tell me how i feel
Tell me right now how I feel

Those who came before me
Lived by calling
Until you complete your journey
They won’t turn away anymore
And it’s still so hard for me
Say what needs to be said
But I know exactly what you’ll tell me
How should I feel today

I see a ship in the harbor
I can and will obey
But if not for your trouble,
I would be in seventh heaven
And I thought I was wrong
And I thought I heard you say
tell me how i feel
Tell me right now how should I feel

And here I am, waiting…
I thought I told you to leave me
While I was walking on the beach
Tell me how I feel
When your heart grows cold

Song quote

Blue Monday is not a song, but a feeling, but as soon as people hear this rhythm, they immediately turn on. They used to get furious when we didn’t want to play it.

Peter Hook, Q

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